At this time of year it’s typically theatrical movies that provide the most interesting releases, but this week there is only one major film due, the finale to the erotic Fifty Shades trilogy, but there are a few items of real interest including the complete first season of the Cartoon Network series Bunnicula, and lower-priced collection of 15 feature-length English village murder mysteries from the incomparable Midsomer Murders franchise, and a gritty live-action adaptation of the groundbreaking “body horror” manga series Parasyte.
This week’s only contemporary release is 50 Shades Freed
(Univesal, “R,” 111 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), the final film in the softcore “bondage” trilogy that, like its predecessors, provides “steamy sex scenes” and little else.
TV on DVD
It is slim pickings in the TV category this week, but there are a few items of interest including the Cartoon Network series Bunnicula: Season 1
(Warner Bros., 220 min., $24.95), which collects all 40 short episodes of the black-comedy-infused animated series loosely based on the children’s books by James and Deborah Hall about a vampire bunny who drinks carrot juice instead of blood, and the Netflix series Dear White People: Season 1
(Lionsgate, 264 min., $29.98), a ten-episode series written by Justin Simeon that expands on his feature film about the problems faced by African-American students attending a prestigious university where the vast majority of the student body is white.
The only other contemporary release is the single-disc animated My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—Applejack (Shout Factory, 110 min., $14.98).
The best vintage release of the week is Police Woman: The Complete Fourth and Final Season (Shout Factory, 1095 min., $34.99), which presents all 22 final season episodes of the groundbreaking police procedural starring Angie Dickinson. Also due on Tuesday is the overrated 1960s sketch comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Fourth Season (TimeLife, $39.95).
Two releases from the U.K. are of interest including Ackley Bridge: Series 1
(Acorn Media, 287 min., $39.99), a drama about the merging of two high schools in Yorkshire that tackles all sorts of social issues including racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination; and the Midsomer Murders: County Case Files
(Acorn Media, 1290 min., $79.99), which presents 15 previously released, movie-length, English village mysteries featuring the “second” Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon) at a much lower price.
This week’s anime releases include the second half of the first Ace Attorney anime from A-1 Pictures. Based on the Capcom visual novels, Ace Attorney: Part Two (Funimation, “TV-14,” 275 min. BD/DVD Combo $64.98) contains episodes 14-24 of the series that dramatizes the first two games in the Capcom franchise, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Justice For All.
Also due this week is the Is the sexy Is It Wrong to Expect a Hot Spring in a Dungeon OVA (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-MA,” 25 min., BD $49.98)), a 2016 OVA produced by J.C. Staff continuing the 2015 Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? anime based on the popular light novel series by Fujino Omori.
Hitoshi Iwaaki’s “body horror” manga Parasyte
has not only spawned a popular anime from Madhouse, but also two excellent live-action films Toho Films. Parasyte Parts 1&2 Live-Action
(Funimation, 226 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98) includes Parasyte Part 1
, a 109-minute film from 2014, and Parasyte Part 2
, a 117-minute sequel for 2015. Those who enjoy either the manga or the anime should also check out the live-action adaptations, though Part 2
isn’t nearly as engrossing as the original 2014 film.